The Hotel Capri: A Classic Among Havana Hotels Is Brought Back to Life With All the Glamour of the 50s.  

by Pool Builders on 04-22-2014 in Articles

Havana, the most cosmopolitan of Cuban cities, has cause for celebration seeing how one of its most beloved hotels opens again with all fanfare to the enjoyment of visitors after a relatively long period of inactivity. Sited just some meters away from the famous seawall and from the bustling Rampa zone in Vedado, the Capri due to its privileged position within the geography of Havana was always a place of predilection for travelers arriving at the metropolitan area of the country. To this, one should add the benefits it afforded the clients, which habitually corresponded without effort to the most rigorous expectations of comfort and amenities of any traveler.

Founded in the now distant 1957, in its beginnings the hotel Capri formed part of the wide network of hotel establishments run by the North American mafia in the Cuban capital as part of their ambitioned project to make Havana the Caribbean answer to what they already held in the North American city of Las Vegas, on account of its magnificent and profitable gaming casinos. For that reason its early days were linked to relevant names of the North American gambling mafia like Santos Trafficante, Jr, Carlos Tourine (Charley "The Blade") or Santino Masselli (better known by his alias: "Sonny the butcher").
After its inauguration, they hired George Raft to be the face of the hotel's public image. Raft was a washed-up Hollywood actor, who in reality fared much better in his association with the gambling business and his connections with gangsters, and of whom have been told, and written, amusing tales of the tribulations he underwent when dealing with the country's new authorities after the revolution in 1959, seeing as shortly after the rebels took power, the gambling industry was banned in Cuba.

The hotel's fame earned it a mention in the pages of the script of that much acclaimed film by Francis Ford Coppola "The Godfather", which as is known deals with the imbroglios of a gangster family in the United States.

As was the rule at the time in facilities of this sort, the rooms of casino-hotels were not especially sumptuous neither in space nor comforts, however, they did reserve their finest luxuries for gastronomic services and others more directly related to the casino floors, which in the Capri's case were right next to the 19-floor building that was home to most of the hotel facilities.

Among the particularities of the hotel stood out the presence of a swimming pool on the rooftop of the building from where, apart from cooling off from the high temperatures forever prevalent in Havana, the Capri client could revel in one of the best views to be had of the city and the sea surrounding it. The peculiar pool also had its moments of fame when it appeared in a scene of the Hollywood film "Our Man in Havana" and then years later, in the 60s, as the protagonist of one of the long shot sequences of "Soy Cuba", a cult film in universal cinematography directed by soviet director Mikhail Kalatozov.
Another curiosity of the hotel's first years is that it did not comprise the existence of a 13th floor, most likely due to a superstition associated with that number which was all the rage in that era.

Rebirth of the hotel in the XXI century
In December of 2013, the hotel Capri was officially re-inaugurated after a lengthy and complex remodeling that sought to above all else endow it with the best international standards of tourism service in terms of amplitude, comfort and general amenities for the client but without depriving it of an iota of the ambience that allows the client to travel back to 50s decade of the past century in the presence of the interior designs and dÃ?cor that characterized the top hotels of the era.

In this new era, all the hotel's rooms are now ample and very comfortable, although as a result of such reforms their number decreased from the original 250, to the 220 now available to service the traveler, and which are currently distributed into 5 types: standard, standard superior, junior suite, suite (the most ample of all), along with the modern and spacious duplex rooms.

The gastronomy is another strong point of the facility thanks to the presence of 4 restaurants that will surely satisfy any palate owing to the variety of specialties and the talented team of chefs at hand in the hotel. The worshippers of the god Bacchus too will have all their desires covered by the hotel as it avails itself of 3 bars, of these one should highlight because of its privileged location, the Snack Bar by the swimming pool, which as ever renders Havana at the feet of whoever might be relaxing in its waters on the 19th floor of the hotel.

Dancing the nights away
The former casino of the hotel Capri is today the SalÃ?n Rojo (the Red Lounge), one of the cabarets most emblematic of Havana nights, where one can enjoy a different show every evening, even as they always remember to abide by the constants of dance and joy so characteristic of Cuban partying. The place has a capacity for 200 people and opens its doors Monday to Sunday, from 8 pm till 3 am, with the additional services of a bar-restaurant with a menu of traditional Cuban and international cuisine, as well as a varied list of drinks that will ensure you an unforgettable evening.

The Hotel Capri, to enjoy Havana with all the glamour of the 50s.

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